By Tim Travers
Tempus Publishing Ltd 2001
ISBN 0 7524 1975 7 - Hardback - 287 pages - £25.00
Studies of the Gallipoli campaign were few in the years since the Second World War, save those largely from an Australian perspective. This new work by Canadian historian Tim Travers, who lost several uncles at Gallipoli serving in the British Army, is a welcome look at the campaign, especially as he has used previously neglected Turkish sources as part of his research.
Travers aim is outlined in his introduction. Given the conduct of the campaign, and the obvious bravery of those who fought there, why was it a failure? What went wrong for the Allies, and right for the Turks? The rest of the book is a fine study of the campaign, looking in detail at the landings and the battles inland that followed.
But the book is not simply a narrative history. Travers does provide us with some answers to the questions he poses in the introduction. Unlike many previous historians he does not focus on personalities, instead he sees defeat at Gallipoli the result of four main factors: the inability of the Allies to wage modern war at this early stage in the conflict, structural problems within the Allied command chain, technology, as on the Western Front, favouring the defender, and finally - and most importantly - the ability of the Turks to mount this defence. It is clear that as an enemy they were underrated, and this comes across strongly through Travers research in the Turkish archives.
The book is well illustrated (with many from Turkish sources) throughout, and there are some good maps in an appendix at the end.
Highly recommended, and essential for any serious student of the Gallipoli campaign.
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Tempus Publishing Ltd
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